White House: Israel has a right to defend itself

White House official calls on Hamas to end the cycle of violence.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Rioters in Gaza near Israeli fence
Rioters in Gaza near Israeli fence
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

A White House official said on Friday that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas attacks, and called on the terrorist group which controls Gaza to end the escalation.

"Israel has a right to defend itself. Hamas’s aggression only produced misery for Gaza. Among victims of this situation are many Palestinians who aren't rioting but whose futures are dimmed by Hamas radicalism. Hamas must end this disastrous cycle," the official told Channel 10 News.

The comments came hours after IAF jets on Friday evening struck dozens of military targets belonging to Hamas in northern and southern Gaza, in response to a serious incident near the border in which an IDF soldier was killed by terrorist snipers.

Later on Friday night, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad reportedly informed mediators that they were ready for a ceasefire that went into effect at midnight.

In the wake of the escalation, the UN’s Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, urged calm and wrote, “Everyone in Gaza needs to step back from the brink. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Right NOW! Those who want to provoke Palestinians and Israelis into another war must not succeed.”

On Thursday, Jared Kushner, senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt, the special U.S. representative for international negotiations, and U.S ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Hamas is prolonging the suffering of the residents of Gaza.

In an op-ed they wrote for The Washington Post, the three urged Hamas to accept Israel’s existence and added that the terrorist group is fighting a war that has long been lost.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)